LA City Council: Labor backs Huizar after clash with Molina

Former LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina wants LA Councilman Jose Huizar's job.
Former LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina wants LA Councilman Jose Huizar's job.
Benjamin Brayfield/KPCC
Former LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina wants LA Councilman Jose Huizar's job.
L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar is running for a third term.
Jose Huizar

Two powerful groups on opposite sides of the political spectrum threw their support behind Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar Thursday.  Huizar is being challenged by former county supervisor Gloria Molina in what is expected to be a tough race. 

The LA Area Chamber of Commerce and the political committee of the LA County Federation of Labor announced they want Huizar to serve a third term representing the 14th District, which covers most of downtown and the Eastside.

“Councilmember José Huizar has shown vision, leadership and tenacity in driving critical residential and commercial economic development,” said Gary Toebben, the chamber’s president. Huizar has long supported tax breaks and building exemptions to help developers in downtown LA.

As for the unions: “Huizar has and continues to be a strong advocate for working families, “ said Rusty Hicks, who heads the labor federation. The unions representing the building trades in particular like a council member who supports development.

Labor unions clashed recently with Molina, who angered them when she refused to support pay raises for 85,000 county workers as a member of the Board of Supervisors. On Thursday she did not immediately return calls for comment.

Every politico in Los Angeles is closely watching the race between the two Democrats.

Huizar, a former school board member, is a powerful downtown power broker. Molina remains an icon in Latino politics: she was the first Latina elected to the state legislature, the first Latina elected to the Board of Supervisors, and the first Latina elected to the city council. She first served on the LA City Council from 1987 to 1991, representing the 1st District.

One key question: will labor unions spend money to help re-elect Huizar? “We haven’t made those decisions yet,” said Bob Schoonover, president of the Service Employees International Union, Local 721, which represents city workers.

Huizar already has raised $735,000. Molina announced her candidacy in September, and has raised just $33,000, according to the latest campaign finance reports.

The city council primary election is March 3.